UPDATE: 8/8/2014 – An Oklahoma teenager, who is accused of engaging in sexual acts with children in Kenya, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Matthew Durham, 19, is facing three counts for the alleged crimes.
On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
His next court date is set for Sept. 9.
EDMOND, Okla. -After a judge granted bond for an Oklahoman teenager accused of molesting children, a U.S. attorney stepped in and filed paperwork, asking for a judge to order him to stay in jail.
Another judge has since reversed that decision, ordering the alleged suspect to remain behind bars until the trial.
Last month, 19-year-old Matthew Durham was arrested after authorities in Kenya claimed he molested and raped orphans during a mission trip.
According to court records, officials claim Durham raped boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 9-years-old during a mission trip to a Kenyan orphanage.
He is facing four charges involving illicit sex acts.
On Monday, a judge granted 19-year-old Matthew Durham an unsecured bond of $10,000.
The bond came with conditions including, no contact with any minors, no contact with anyone involved in the case except his attorney, no use of any electronic devices and house arrest.
Robert Don Gifford II, the Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, filed a permanent order of detention for Durham.
In the appeal, the report claims Durham is a “danger to the community” and asks that he be held without bail pending the trial.
That motion revealed more evidence the prosecutors allege makes Durham a danger to others.
It cites text messages received from Durham’s phone, where he allegedly threatened to burn down the house of orphanage’s founder.
In a text provided by prosecutors, he allegedly said, “I’m tired of hiding from what [orphanage founder] is telling people. I control the story from now on. This is war. She better pray she’s ready when she lands.”
Other attachments included a string of text messages, allegedly received from Durham.
In one such message, it states, “How can i not hate this thing inside of me? It takes me at night and i am powerless over what luke wants. Yes i named him i know how crazy that is. He whispers in my ear all day and hes so hard to resist.”
Durham’s defense attorneys say that the orphanage made him say that he had Lucifer inside him before signing the confession.
They added the orphanage told him to call the demon ‘Luke.’
The motion also included other evidence, including a written confession.
However, defense attorneys say those confessions were coerced.
They claim the orphanage withheld Durham’s food, passport and care for the children until he confessed.
“He was held for four days, I think, five days. They would not return his passport until he confessed and under those circumstances, it’s duress,” said Stephen Jones, Durham’s attorney.
The government alleges the nature of the alleged crimes, Durham’s characteristics, the seriousness of the danger posed to others and the evidence of the defendant’s guilt means he should remain in custody.
It goes on to allege that there are no conditions that will “reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant or the safety of the community.”
In the motion’s conclusion, Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma, wrote, “Undoubtedly, this tragedy of young orphans who were held down and brutally raped, molested, and forced to perform oral sex on this defendant – a person they were hoping to help them- a Missionary of all people- lends one to wonder if this country has indeed lost its soul. The criminal justice system can save it. Detention is mandated by statute, by the underlying facts, and because justice calls for it.”
On Tuesday, a judge initially decided to hold Durham in custody until a decision on the appeal was made.
A federal grand jury also returned an indictment charging Durham with engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children.
According to court records, the indictment alleges three counts:
- Count 1 alleges Durham traveled from Oklahoma City to Kenya for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with persons under 18 years of age.
- Count 2 alleges that Durham engaged in illicit sexual conduct with several minors under 18 years of age.
- Count 3 alleges aggravated sexual abuse when Durham crossed a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a child under 12 years of age.
On Wednesday, the court granted the U.S. attorney’s appeal and ruled that Durham must remain in custody until the trial.
The judge’s ruling on the appeal read, “Judge Erwin’s order granting Defendant’s release pending trial is REVERSED.”
It also said that the United States has presented “clear and convincing evidence” that Durham poses a danger to the community.
Durham’s arraignment is set for Aug. 8 at 3 p.m.
If he is convicted of the charges, Durham faces a possible life in prison sentence.